In the Autumn and Winter, I crave comfort food. Comfort food is a pretty vague term. Its different for everyone and usually has to do with where you are from and what you grew up eating. For me, comfort food is soup, panini and PASTA. I eat so much pasta in the colder months. And lately, my go-to has been this Vegan Stovetop Mac and Cheese.
I ate a lot of mac and cheese growing up. Always stovetop mac and cheese. But, not the homemade kind. My mom always had at least 4 boxes of Velveeta mac and cheese in our pantry. You know- the kind that comes with a squeeze-y orange cheese sauce packet. Hi, mom.
While I loved the suspiciously orange and shelf-stable cheese product as a kid, it isn't appealing to me now. So, I wanted to make a Vegan Stovetop Mac and Cheese that is creamy and delicious and satisfies my comfort food and nostalgia cravings.
Making a Vegan Cheese Sauce
Working with Raw Cashews
The main ingredient in this mac and cheese sauce is raw cashew. Its absolutely crucial to use raw unsalted cashews and not roasted cashews here. Raw cashews have a really mild flavor and an intense creaminess. And, we can use those aspects to mimic the creaminess of a non-vegan mac and cheese sauce.
Its crucial to soak the cashews prior to blending to soften them. I usually cover them with hot water and let them sit for about 30-40 minutes. You can push this time a bit - to 20 minutes- if you use boiling water. But, don't try to use pain old raw cashews that havent been soaked or your Vegan Stovetop Mac and Cheese will have a sauce with little unappetizing bits in it.
Use Plenty of Spices for Flavor
And from there, its all about the flavor. I used a variety of spices to give the cheese sauce plenty of flavor here. I used onion and garlic powder and a hint of mustard powder and a little paprika to round it all out. These spices create layers of flavor and This sauce woulf be good on anything. But, today we're making Mac and Cheese and it really makes a killer Stovetop Mac and Cheese.
Nutritional Yeast: The Real MVP
And since we want this Stovetop Mac and Cheese to have a cheesy flavor, I used nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of yeast that has a nutty and cheesy flavor. Its pretty much good on anything. My grocery store always has Braggs and Bobs Red Mill brands of nutritional yeast. As far as I can taste, they have no difference. There is no substitution for nutritional yeast, here.
All of the ingredients for the cheese sauce simply get blended together in a blender until they are completely smooth. And, this cheese sauce can also be made a few days ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Then, pull it put when you're ready to use it for the fastest Vegan Stovetop Mac and Cheese of all time.
This Vegan Stove Top Mac And Cheese is a simple and delicious comfort food meal that will please vegans and non-vegans alike! And, it only takes 30 minutes making it an ideal weeknight meal.
Vegan Stove Top Mac and Cheese
- ½ Pound Pasta of Choice
- ½ Cup Raw Unsalted Cashews, Soaked in hot water for at least 45 minutes, then drained
- 1 ¼ Cups Plain Unsweetened Plant Milk I used So Delicious Coconut Milk
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Powder
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
- ¼ Cup Nutritional Yeast
- Black Pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a high speed blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews, plant milk, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Blend on high until the mixture is completely smooth. At least 1-2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add all of the cheese sauce into the pot with the pasta and turn the burner back onto medium.
- Cook gently stirring until the sauce soaks into the pasta and everything is hot. About 4-5 minutes.
Let me know how you like this recipe and if there is anything you'd like to see me make next!